K-3/K-4 Visas

K-3/K-4 Non-immigrant Visa

  1. K-3 Visa Overview
  2. Application Process for K/3
  3. Required Documentation for K-3/K-4
  4. Expiration of a K-3 Non-immigrant Visa
  5. K-4 Children who Turn 21 Before Obtaining Immigrant Status
  6. Approval of Application for Adjustment of Status


1. K-3 Visa Overview

K-3 visa is for a foreign national spouse, who has a valid marriage to a United States Citizen, to enter the United States while they are awaiting the adjudication of a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. It also allows them to obtain employment authorization while they are waiting. Eligible children of K-3 visa applicants receive K-4 visas. Both K-3 and the K-4 visas allow their recipients to stay in the U.S. while immigrant visa petitions are pending approval by USCIS.

To be eligible for a K-3 nonimmigrant visa, an individual must:

  • Be married to a U.S. citizen
  • Have a pending Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

A child may be eligible for a K-4 visa if:

  • The child is unmarried, under 21, and the child of a qualified K-3 non-immigrant visa applicant

Note: In order for a K-4 who is a step-child of a USC to immigrate as a relative of the USC step-parent the marriage between his or her parent and the USC must have occurred before his or her 18th birthday.


2. Application Process for K-3

Step One: filing the petitions

  • U.S. citizen sponsor must first file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The USCIS will send a Notice of Action (Form I-797) receipt notice to inform you that it has received the petition.
  • You must then file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), for your foreign-citizen spouse and stepchildren.
  • After USCIS approves the petitions, they will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.

Step Two: applying for the Visa

If the NVC receives the approved I-129F petition before it receives the I-130 petition, the NVC will process the I-129F petition. NVC will then send the I-129F petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the marriage took place.

The U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you, the foreign-citizen spouse, will apply will provide you with specific instructions, including, where to go for the required medical examination. Some visa applications require further administrative processing,

Eligible children of K-3 visa applicants may apply for K-4 visas. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant, and each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.


3. Required Documentation for K-3/K-4

The foreign-citizen spouse and eligible children applying for K-4 visas will be required to bring the following forms and documents to the visa interview:

  • Two (2) Non-immigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156 (prepared in duplicate.) Note: K-3/K-4 visa applicants should not fill in Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application;
  • One (1) Application For Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Form DS-230, Part I (You are not required to complete Part II.)
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions)
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate for the marriage to the U.S. citizen spouse
  • Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s)
  • Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for 6 months or more since age 16. (Police certificates are also required for accompanying children age 16 or older.)
  • Medical examination: Before the issuance of an immigrant or K visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized panel physician.
  • Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support may be requested): Applicants will be required to present evidence to the Consular Officer that they will not become a public charge in the United States.
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs.
  • Evidence of relationship with your U.S. citizen spouse
  • Payment of fees

Note: The Consular Officer may ask for additional proof that marriage to the U.S. citizen is genuine.


4. Expiration of a K-3 Non-immigrant Visa

A K-3 visa holder’s authorized stay automatically expires 30 days after any of the following events:

  • USCIS denies or revokes the Form I-130 visa petition
  • USCIS denies a Form I-485 filed by the K-3 nonimmigrant or Department of State denies the immigrant visa application filed by the K-3 non-immigrant
  • Termination of the marriage through divorce or annulment
  • Note: A K-4’s authorized stay automatically expires when the K3’s status expires.


5. K-4 Children who Turn 21 Before Obtaining Immigrant Status

K-4 nonimmigrant visas holders will be admitted to the United States for 2 years or until the day before their 21st birthday, whichever is shorter. The K-4 nonimmigrant ‘s status will expire when he or she turns 21. If the USC petitioner filed a Form I-130 on a K-4 nonimmigrant’s behalf before the K-4 turned 21, he or she may continue to be eligible for adjustment of status under the Child Status Protection Act.


6. Approval of Application for Adjustment of Status

The K3/K4 nonimmigrant will become a lawful permanent resident of the United States after adjustment of status is approved. Marriages that are less than 2 years old will result in permanent residency under on a conditional basis. You and your spouse will then be required to file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence within the 90 day period prior to the expiration date on the green card.